Irish Channel bed-and-breakfast proposal splits city panel

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1013 Sixth Street (via City of New Orleans)

1013 Sixth Street (via City of New Orleans)

Questions about whether the owner of a bed-and-breakfast planned for the Irish Channel just off Magazine Street would actually live there led to a split vote before the City Planning Commission this week, leaving the decision in the hands of the City Council.

The proposed bed and breakfast, located at 1013 Sixth Street, is currently a four-unit residence, but applicant and owner Karen Bacharach plans to convert the house into a eight-room bed and breakfast. Architect David Glasgow, who represented Bacharach before the City Planning Commission, said the house was built in 1856 and renovations are being done to restore and repair the structure.

“The floor plan rebuilding would be brought back more in keeping with what it was historically,” Glasgow said.

Glasgow said that Bacharach is already an owner of a hotel on Prytania Street and had a previous bed and breakfast in the Garden District.

“The owner, who currently runs Creole Gardens Hotel on Prytania Street and has previously run Castle Inn in the Garden District, would develop this as a bed and breakfast,” Glasgow said.

However, neighbors who spoke in opposition to the project questioned whether Bacharach would actually live on the premises, which is a requirement to own and operate a bed and breakfast.

Howard Nobles said that Bacharach did not answer the question at the Neighborhood Participation Program meeting, required as a part of the application process.

“We specifically asked her if she was going to be living in the property and she basically said, ‘That’s not important,’ ” Nobles said. “That was her repeated answer over and over again.

“It’s a B & B. It’s supposed to be owner occupied, and she refused to answer that she was going to occupy the residence,” Nobles said.

The proposed eight guest rooms is too big for the neighborhood, and will only add to the difficulty of parking for residents, Nobles also said. No neighbors who attended the Neighborhood Participation Program meeting were in favor of the project, Nobles said.

“When they had the NPP, no one who came supported this,” Nobles said.

Another neighbor, David Bordelon, criticized the slow pace of repairs to the building, and agreed that neighbors have no desire to see a new bed and breakfast.

“I think she’s just looking to convert it into another business, and the neighborhood is not interested in the commercial intrusion,” Bordelon said.

Glasgow said Bacharach owns other properties with Steve Howard, and that he would reside at the property.

“The question about Steve Howard, her boyfriend, is that he would become the owner and live there if this becomes a bed and breakfast,” Glasgow said.

However, City Planning staff that owners of a bed and breakfast must demonstrate owner occupancy.

“If for some reason she doesn’t live there, she would be in violation of the zoning and the city would have the ability to initiate an adjudication action,” staff members said.

Two votes were taken by City Planning commissioners on the property. The first was a motion to deny the staff’s recommendation of approval.

“I think, at least enough questions have been raised around this piece of property and its owner for me to make the motion to deny the request,” Commissioner Kelly Brown said.

“It would have been nice to have heard from the applicant herself,” Brown said.

Commissioner Robert Steeg said that he was concerned that Bacharach would not live at the property.

“One concern that I have is that on its face, if we were to accept the testimony of one of the opponents on its face we have an application for a bed and breakfast from someone who can’t operate the bed an breakfast because she has a residence somewhere else,” Steeg said.

“Granted, if she sells her house and moves into this residence but that does raise a concern,” Stegg said.

That motion to recommend denial of the project failed with a 2-4 vote. The commissioners then voted 4-2 on a motion to accept the staff recommendation in favor of the project, which is technically considered a split vote that will send the project to the City Council without a recommendation.

In a separate item, the Commission unanimously approved a request to redevelop The Audubon Hotel on St. Charles Avenue. According to staff, the hotel would include 30 guest rooms that would extend across three floors and would also include a bar, an office, and a lounge area.

David Gindin represented the project and thanked the staff for the recommendation as well as neighbors who participated in the Neighborhood Participation Program meeting.

2 thoughts on “Irish Channel bed-and-breakfast proposal splits city panel

  1. Who approved the six short-term rentals at 1012-1024 Louisiana Ave? I am tired of transients wheeling luggage all over my neighborhood.

  2. This is appalling! The City Planning Commission should be ashamed of itself!

    The City Planning Commission recognizes that this will be a violation of its laws that it is governed by, but votes to allow the use anyway!! Is this more “business as usual” here in the City of New Orleans??!

    Bacharach is obviously an investor, not this property’s homeowner. She ran an ILLEGAL B&B (the Castle Inn) in the Garden District which she was never licensed to do until the Garden District filed suit and won to close her down. Now she wants to open another rogue hotel/illegal STR in the same general area.

    As a citizen, a neighbor and a small business owner, this is yet another example of the City choosing to turn its back on what they are approving to become another illegal business operation in a residential area. This is exactly why the AirBnB situation in NOLA has grown exponentially and gotten so far out of control.

    What a HUGE disservice to the citizens of our city, the very same citizens who pay your salaries as City employees that should be representing the interest of our neighbors over that of financial investment and gain. Guess it really is just a matter of time before our own city staff & elected officials sell us all out!

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